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Commission meets March 18 in Salem

Briefings on Columbia River Harvest Reform, Wolf Plan Annual Review, new wildlife holding rules

March 10, 2016

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, March 18 in Salem. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. and the agenda can be found online at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/16/03_march/index.asp

During the Director’s report at the beginning of the meeting, ODFW staff will provide an overview of the 2015 annual Wolf Report and hear input on the Wolf Plan review from panelists who have been invited to participate. The panelists were selected from organizations that have been actively engaged in Oregon wolf management over the last 10 years—Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Oregon Wild, Oregon Cattleman’s Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Hunters Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

While no additional public testimony will be taken about the Wolf Plan review at the March 18 meeting, the review is expected to take several months and there will be many opportunities for public engagement and input. Currently anyone can submit comments regarding the Wolf Plan review at odfw.comments@state.or.us.

The Commission will also hear an update on research, evaluation and implementation of the Columbia River non-tribal fishery reform policy. This is an ongoing effort to prioritize recreational fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River, move gillnets to off-channel areas and transition commercial fisheries on the mainstem to alternative gear while still maintaining their economic viability. Panelists from Salmon for All, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Northwest Steelheaders, Northwest Guides and Anglers and Coastal Conservation Association have been invited to participate in a panel discussion about the transition period. No other public testimony will be taken on this issue during the March 18 meeting.

The Commission will also be briefed on proposed changes to the Division 44 Protected Wildlife, Holding and Propagation Rules which were developed to protect Oregon’s wildlife and regulate the holding of amphibians, reptiles and other non-game wildlife. More information about the proposed rules is available online; to allow time for public input the Commission will not be taking any action on the rules until their June 9-10 meeting in Salem. Currently, there are no regulations for the holding of many native species of wildlife that are not hunted or trapped (e.g. non-game), threatened and endangered or held under other permits.

The proposed new rules would allow the collection and holding, with no permit required, of up to two individual frogs, snakes, turtles, salamanders, lizards and small mammals from species that are abundant and widely distributed. For example, two Pacific Tree frogs (juvenile, adult or eggs/larval stages) could be collected and kept in an appropriate cage or aquarium.

Once caged, the animal(s) would need to be held for its natural lifetime and not released back to the wild. Unwanted animals could also be turned over to an ODFW office. Animals cannot be released back to the wild due to the risk of introducing disease and other problems that can occur for the released animal and for wild populations.

Several Oregonians currently hold legally acquired bears, cougars, wolves, bobcats, raccoons and skunks imported from captive animal breeders. These individuals would be grandfathered in to the new rules but would need a Wildlife Holding Permit ($25/year and already required for all species but skunk) and to maintain minimum care and caging standards outlined in the new rules. New acquisitions or permits for these species would require that the animals be held in a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Finally, the new rules limit the breeding of native species to certain game birds.

In other business, the Commission will:

  • Be briefed on planning for the 2016 ocean salmon seasons which begin May 1.
  • Adopt an amendment to administrative rules for fish and wildlife habitat, which makes a temporary rule permanent for mitigating impacts from development actions in sage-grouse habitat (Division 415 section 0025).
  • Consider funding for Access and Habitat and Restoration and Enhancement projects to improve wildlife habitat and hunting access or increase recreational fisheries and improve commercial salmon fisheries.
  • Consider rules modifying the commercial sea urchin fishery, including reducing the number of permits to 12 before the lottery and prohibiting enriched air diving in order to maintain current harvest levels.

Public testimony for topics not on the agenda will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state and it usually meets monthly.

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy
Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us
(503) 947-6022 / (503) 931-2748

 
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